MONTREAL—Alcoa Inc. and Israeli firm Phinergy are working together to commercialize an aluminum-air battery they claim can extend the range of an electric vehicle by about 1,600 kilometres.
According to Alcoa and the electric vehicle battery maker, they are collaborating on new materials, processes and components to commercialize the revolutionary battery.
“Automakers want technologies that enable zero-emission electric cars to travel distances that compete with gasoline-powered cars,” Alcoa Canada president Martin Briere said in a statement. “The aluminum-air battery has the potential to meet that challenge using fully recyclable material with no CO2 emissions.”
The announcement was made in Montreal where they debuted a zero-emissions electric deomonstration car powered by the aluminum-air battery at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.
The aluminum-air battery uses air and water to unlock energy stored in aluminum, and, when used to supplement a lithium-ion battery, can extend vehicle range by approximately 1,600 kilometres.
An all-electric Tesla Model S has an estimated range of 425 kilometres.
The companies hope the aluminum-air technology will put electric vehicles on par with their gas-powered counterparts in travel distances, purchase prices and overall life-cycle costs.
“Electric vehicle adoption has been slowed by the limited range of regular batteries, causing what is commonly known as ‘range anxiety,'” Phinergy chief executive Aviv Tzidon said.
“With Phinergy’s technology and Alcoa’s industrial leadership across both the aluminum value chain and the automotive market, we see an exciting opportunity to help move electric vehicles into the mainstream.”
According to Phinergy, the aluminum-air battery technology can also be applied to stationary applications like generators, and defence applications like mobile housing and unmanned vehicles.
It can also be used by first responders because of its infinite shelf life and high energy density.
Alcoa’s Briere said the company’s plant in Baie-Comeau, Que., is “well positioned” to supply the aluminum for use in the battery.